Author Archive for Sarah

I’m Ba-ack! As Best I Can, Anyway.

I’m sorry I haven’t written in so long. I wish I could blame my absence on writer’s block, an early and fortuitous move, or being busy doing something I love, but I can’t.

Unfortunately, I have fibromyalgia. Pushing myself over the winter to work on the blog while trying to work on the house while transitioning jobs while doing the holidays while getting sick from the germs of being around new germ factories kids was too much. I crashed, pretty hard. I ended up being mostly bedridden, sick (still coughing), having to drop to 16 hours a week at work (and still sometimes calling out), and feeling so bad that I actually applied for disability (both disability and SSI were denied; I’m not appealing right now since I feel better).

But the bedrest and forced slow-down helped me immensely. I was able to start to recuperate. We went from eating whatever fast thing I could throw together to eating less-processed fast things I could throw together. *Quick meal tip: you can boil potatoes ahead of time with the skin on and then just scrape or rub the skin off when you’re ready to use it with either your fingers or a spoon edge. Even the big baking potatoes!

I’ve been able to go back to working five days a week, with 1 or 2 of those days being longer than 4 hours. I hope this holds up because the class I’m working in over the summer has two field trips each week starting next week until school starts.

Unfortunately, I also have ADHD, so when I started feeling better I was still too disorganized and scattered to work in “time” for posting. I finally just pushed over the edge this morning to get my foot back in the door.

I’m going to be posting more frequently, but no promises yet as to how frequently (due to being scattered, disorganized, etc). I plan to post on lifestyle “stuff,” which for me will mean posts on the following:

  • homesteading
  • decluttering
  • home management (possibly slanted for someone with chronic conditions that affect memory, as both ADHD and fibromyalgia do)
  • life management – I expect lots of trial and error here
  • vegan recipes – starting with simple smoothies (I make one for breakfast these days)
  • our animals
  • Kaida and her art
  • homeschooling
  • home repair/renovation or random building projects that I do. I’m not trained to build, but I like doing it so, why not? Don’t follow my building advice! Maybe just use my stuff as idea generators.

I’m probably forgetting a lot of what I want to talk about; my brain just stopped. I guess that my clue to wrap it up!

See you next time!

SQUIRREL! Just kidding! I remembered that I want to also post (and maybe even write about) interesting articles I find about ADHD, fibromyalgia, general health/nutrition, or maybe anything else… 😉

Small Goals Lead To Big Goals

Baker’s Rack – After

We will be moving this summer and I’ve started working on decluttering before packing. I haven’t gotten very far. You can see some of my progress in this post or by joining my Facebook group, Finally Free Decluttering Support.

My decluttering efforts have been kind of haphazard and I decided that I needed a more systematic way of going about things. So I was figured out a general timeline. We want to be in the new house in June or July. That means I have to be ready to get work done on our current house starting in May (we’re moving before this house sells).

Then I listed all of the areas I need to work on: laundry room, kitchen, living room/dining room, master bath, master bedroom, bedroom 2, bedroom 3, bedroom 4, bathroom 2, run-in, front shed, back shed (has 2 stalls, guinea pigs, and storage), inside yard (i.e. where the chickens, ducks, Bubba, and Marshmallow are), chicken coop, and the front porch. That’s a long list! And I need it all done by May?!

First I thought, “OMG! How am I ever going to get this done?” Then I realized I needed a plan, a schedule. So I counted months–4 months to finish everything, and broke it down.

I need to have the heat pump and kitchen sink repaired so I need to have someone in to work in the main area of the house. I also need to get an estimate on replacing the windows in those rooms as well as replacing at least the bottom kitchen cabinets and the counter. That puts those areas first. So the kitchen and living room/dining room combo need to be finished in February. I also put the front porch in February because I have some bags of feed inside the dining room that I want to move into feed cans on the covered front porch.

Why is the feed inside? Glad you asked! Have you ever gone to a petting zoo and tried to walk through a bunch of goats carrying food in your hands? Yeah, it was like that every time I went to the back of the run-in to get feed out because they knew it was coming from back there. I would open the gate to get into the back storage part and 13 goats would be at my back trying to get in with me. So it’s inside the house and I now deliver the main herds’ portion in a bucket sealed with a gamma lid. I set it up so that I can feed the bucks through the fence and Bubba and Marshmallow got their own feeding station as well (pics coming soon!). So I can carry the sealed bucket out to the main herd, set it down, and get their feed pans ready while they all stand around the bucket sniffing to see if they can get in. Good times!

Back to the schedule! The master bedroom and master bathroom are planned for the end of February/beginning of March, followed immediately by the second bathroom. I want to get an estimate on replacing the bathroom cabinets, counters, and sinks. The other bedrooms fall in line after these rooms, with bedroom 2 scheduled for March. The inside yard is also scheduled for March so that I can hopefully stop the weeds and reseed the inside yard. I need to have the birds, Bubba, and Marshmallow doing something else by this time.

April gets us to bedrooms 3 and 4, laundry room, both sheds, the run-in, and the chicken coop will be last going into May.

It is a TIGHT schedule, and I am almost panicking even thinking about it! I hope we will be decluttered enough by April that I can have the windows, counters, and cabinets all replaced in April. I want that done so that I can fix any marks/holes in the walls and repaint in May. I hope to be able to get this house on the market as soon as we get out!

I think the most difficult thing about sticking to this schedule will be my energy level. I have fibromyalgia and pretty much wake up exhausted. I’m usually ready for a nap by about 10 AM. (Wish I could LOL here, but I don’t have the energy, so…)

Have you done a massive decluttering before? Tell me about it in the comments!

P.S. If you have any interest in taking better photos, you can take this free photography strengths assessment at:

I plan on taking this quiz after work today, because I need help!

Closing Out The Monthly Budget

It’s Finance Friday and I thought I’d talk about closing out my monthly budget. I usually do it on the last Sunday of each month because I usually have some time on that day (if not, I do it across a few weekdays). I want to share a bit about my process. For the record, I use an Excel spreadsheet so that I can customize everything any way I want.

First, I make sure that all receipts have been entered. I go through my bank statement online and all of my credit cards to make sure I got everything. I try to log them as I get them during the month, but do sometimes miss something–usually something I’ve bought at Amazon (infrequent) and forgot to enter.

Second, I compare my monthly result to previous months and look for areas where I can cut back. I would love perfection, but have to settle for progress. If I could get the medical bills to slow down, that would be really helpful (I need to get a root canal and crown as well as a few other things done).

Third, and this is something that I’ve only recently started doing, is tracking credit card purchases on another spreadsheet within that workbook. I track all credit cards on the same page and enter each individual purchase I’ve made and a general category (eg. gas, household, etc.). That makes it easier for me to see what I want to pay to where. For example, I use my Costco credit card to get gas since it has a 4% rebate on gas. I want to make sure that I pay for the gas I put on there. I had medical bills and some purchases for the goats over the summer and all three of my cards are fairly full. I track each purchase to make sure that I’m paying off new purchases as well as trying to make a dent in the old ones.

I then go through all of my envelopes, put in the monthly allowance for the new month, and make sure that what’s in there is what’s supposed to be in there if I had any left over from last month. Since I’m putting gas on my rebate credit card, it’s usually not too much. If you don’t already know, the envelopes are based on Dave Ramsey’s advice. It is based on the idea that it hurts more to spend cash than to use a credit card, so you’re more likely to spend less if you force yourself to use cash.

It’s kind of involved and takes a while to do at the end of each month, but I feel like I have a much better picture of where I stand when I do all of the steps.

Do you close out your monthly budget at the end of the month? Tell me how in the comments!

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Ultimate Startup Bundle Flash Sale Coming Soon!

When you’re bootstrapping a startup, it’s normal to have times when you feel stuck. Discouraged. And in way over your head.

Which is probably why so many startups fail in the early years. It’s hard to predict the bumps and roadblocks you’ll hit along the way, or which ones you’ll lose the most sleep over.

Of course, you’re willing to do whatever it takes to make things happen. Start and run your business lean. Hustle hard until you hit your stride. Study and learn from smart entrepreneurs who’ve gone before.

But you’re up against a lot of challenges, too. Especially on a homestead where actual lives (livestock) are probably dependent on you for food!

Maybe you’ve got great ideas but you’re lacking the specific business know-how. Money is probably tight. Your time is stretched thin. You’re bombarded with information but not sure who to listen to or what to do next.

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Have a Plan for Retreat and Recovery

This is the fifth and final post in my series on networking as an introvert. See post #4 here.

Introverts often find prolonged social interaction and busy events draining. If you’re an introvert, you may have noticed that after networking events you feel tired and lack energy. This may not be much of a problem if you attend a short networking event in the afternoon and spend your evening relaxing and regrouping.

But when a networking event is stretched over several days like a conference or seminar, you risk returning home and feeling drained for the next week. But this can be avoided when you have a plan for retreat and recovery during a networking event.

Build in periods of time for rest.

Before you leave for any event, you should check the schedule and see what’s on the agenda for each day. This will give you an idea of when you can plan for some rest and relaxation. For example, you may notice an empty time slot in the afternoon that you could use to decompress.

You can use your decompression time however you like. You might want to go for a massage, read a book, or watch an episode of your favorite sitcom. Doing something that makes you feel good will help you return to your networking event later with more energy and enthusiasm.

Know your limits.

It can be helpful when you’re attending a conference or other networking event to know your limits. For example, attending four sessions back to back might be too much for you. Instead, you can pick the two sessions that appeal the most to you and show up only for those two. In between sessions, you can decompress or if you’re still feeling good, socialize with other attendees that aren’t at the session. Also, check to see if recordings will be offered after the event. It may be possible to fill in any sessions you missed later, at least as far as the material being covered.

Prioritize what matters most.

Before a networking event, take the time to think about what you’re hoping to accomplish by attending. If you hope to build a network of affiliates that will promote your latest offering, then you know that socializing with others is your top priority. If you hope to find a new joint venture partner, then you know to look around for someone that you click with.

You may simply want to attend a networking event to help you learn something new, like how to do video marketing or how to re-target your advertisements. If that’s the case, then you’ll want to focus on attending sessions that give you the information you need.

Keep in mind that conferences always seem to go by much faster than you think they will. That’s why it can be helpful to have a game plan in mind ahead of time. This lets you build in plenty of time to relax and enjoy your time there.

Networking is awesome…learn how to make it even more fun when you download your free workbook.

Look for other posts in this series!

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